UNICEF Accidentally Releases the Personal Information of 8,000 People

The personal information of these people was sent to 20,000 different inboxes.
Donovan Alexander

Personal data leaks are becoming a monthly occurrence across industries garnering the same question from the public like, “Is my information truly safe?” or even worse, “Who in the internet might have my information?”. Cybersecurity is a top concern among companies and governments across the world. Malicious spyware, ransomware, and viruses are all on the rise. 


While CPO magazine estimates that cybercrime will account for $6 trillion in damages by 2021. Besides nefarious activities, another cause of a data breach can simply be human error. And that is definitely the case this past week. An “email blunder” by UNICEF caused the leaks of 8,000 users.

Problems at UNICEF 

You are probably very well aware of the charity organization UNICEF. You have probably even contributed to one of their causes at some point during your high school career. The United Nations children’s agency has done some tremendous good in the world helping millions of impoverished children across the world. However, even a company like UNICEF can be susceptible to a few blunders 

Even more so, this is not the first time UNICEF was in the news this past year. A leaked report this past summer revealed that the U.N. Children’s Fund’s workplace is not living up to the organization’s values of empowering children and families. 

As for the leak of the personal information, it is believed that the organization accidentally sent the names, email addresses, gender and professional information of users of its portal in Agora to 20,000 email inboxes. A published report reveals that the information included 8,253 users enrolled in courses on immunization.

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Human error

UNICEF’s media chief Najwa Mekki explained in an email to Devex, stating, “This was an inadvertent data leak caused by an error when an internal user ran a report ... The personal information accidentally leaked may include the names, email addresses, duty stations, gender, organization, name of supervisor and contract type of individuals who had enrolled in one of these courses, to the extent that these details were included in their Agora user’s profile.”

UNICEF did go on to apologize for the incident and stated: “an internal assessment and review was launched as soon as the issue was reported and the problem was quickly addressed to ensure that it does not happen again.”

Human error is one of the more common reasons why personal data may be leaked or evenbe made susceptible to a cyber attack. It is always important to put in various checks and balances to ensure sensitive information is protected at all costs.  

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